6:20 a.m.  I walk along the now-well-defined path through my neighbor's alfalfa.  It is calf high but I'm headed to a hill top where the soil is thinner and the alfalfa short enough to display my decoys.

6:22 a.m.  I stop to admire my full-bodied decoys silhouetted against a rose-colored dawn.  I want to capture that in a photograph with my fancy digital camera but I can't figure out how to disable the automatic flash and extend the exposure time.  Too much tool, not enough carpenter.

6:30 a.m.  I am ready now in a blind tucked behind the first row of eight-foot-tall corn.  My covert includes waist-high burlap with shortened corn stalks weaved throughout.  My dad's old Remington Model 58 stands ready, loaded with triple B's.  I have twelve oversized decoys set with sentinels left and right.  I have killed many geese with this set up but not this year.  I wonder if the new law allowing hunting over water has been a game changer.

6:40 a.m. The sky is alive now with pre-sunrise colors.  Lacy cirrus above cottonball cumulus. Virga leaks out of impossibly small clouds.

6:52 a.m. I spot what I think is a high-flying single.  It turns out to be a Delta 737 climbing out for Chicago or beyond.

6:58 a.m. My neighbor's coon dog howls come floating in from a mile away on a northeast breeze.  I momentarily mistake them for a goose.  I am definitely, um, goosie.

7:11 a.m.  Road noise from a county highway a half-mile away is constant.  It robs from my concentrated listening for a goose.  Where the rubber meets the road comes to mind.  As does a favorite description of corporate HQ folks in my old job: where the rubber meets the sky.

7:25 a.m. Prime time for early-season goose activity.  A flock of twenty approach low from the north.  I send out a welcoming ka-honk on my Ken Martin call.  They acknowlege my spread and my call with excited honking, wings set.  They float over not 20 feet above.  I make a snap decision to let them circle and approach into the wind.  Astonishingly, they continue south out of sight.  Bad decision!

7:41 a.m. A goshawk sends me to my seat.  Every motion is a goose to my jacked-up senses.  The goshawk works the hayfield for a mouse breakfast with his familiar flap, flap, flap, soar flying.  A kestral screams by the hawk narrowing missing a mid-air collision.  I watch an aerial dogfight over hunting rights.

7:50 a.m.  A pair of Canada's approaches from on high, wings set.  They are murmuring indicating they are committed to joining their plastic friends.  I rise, lead the front bird and miss.  A second, panicky shot.  And a hail Mary third.  They veer south using the wind to help their escape.  I leap onto a rickety blind chair to watch them over the corn, hoping for delayed mortality, lose my balance and fall into a heap on the ground.  I quickly look around to see who might have witnessed this dismal display of shooting and balance.  My labrador gives me a bored glance.  He's seen this act before.

8:01 a.m.  A single circles my spread three times before committing.  We exchange many greeting calls.  He finally sails in directly over my head.  I make an impossible skeet center station shot.  Doc waits for the "get back" command and bounds to the goose.  I am thankful for the second chance, the goose meat and the morning.